Jayapura: When the squads were submitted for the 2018 AFC U-19 Championship in Indonesia, there was one member of the home side whose name jumped off the page.
It wasn’t Egy Maulana Vikri, the Lechia Gdansk forward who had already accumulated multiple senior international caps and more than a million followers online.
It wasn’t Rafli Mursalim, the promising striker who had bagged nine goals in standout displays at the past two AFF Youth tournaments.
See also :
Asia’s Greatest Players in Spanish Football
FIFA World Cup
Asian Classics: Australia v Japan (2006 FIFA World Cup)
FIFA World Ranking
No change in latest FIFA World Ranking
The name which stood out among Indra Sjafri’s 23-man squad was none other than Rivaldo, only this particular Rivaldo was 27 years younger and 28 centimetres shorter.
“Yes, the name Rivaldo itself was given to me by my father,” Todd Rivaldo Ferre, now 21, told the-AFC.com.
“He idolised the famous Brazilian player Vitor Borba Ferreira, a.k.a. Rivaldo. That’s how I got the name.”
So, what’s in a name? As it turns out, quite a lot.
By the end of the tournament Indonesia’s very own Rivaldo had shown the world his own footballing ability, played an integral part in a remarkable match, and scored a hat-trick that would fit comfortably in any highlight reel devoted to his famous namesake.
A world away from the Camp Nou, Rivaldo Ferre came into the AFC U-19 Championship hopeful of making his mark on the biggest stage yet in his fledgling career.
Eye-catching attacking displays, and two goals at July’s regional AFF U-19 Youth Championship, earned him the role of Indonesia’s super-sub, but the Persipura Jayapura youngster was just one of several talented players in the host nation’s squad.
The aforementioned Maulana Vikri’s talent had already earned him a move to Europe, while Saddil Ramdani and Witan Sulaeman were both more than capable of causing headaches for some of Indonesia’s more illustrious rivals at October’s AFC Finals.
“In my opinion, this was an extraordinary team with plenty of potential,” said Rivaldo Ferre, two years after his Garuda Muda heroics. “If given the proper guidance and development, I believe we might be able to become a very solid team at the (senior) national level.”
Indonesia’s quality in the final third was immediately evident. They began the tournament with a fine 3-1 win over Chinese Taipei, with Maulana Vikri and Sulaeman both getting on the scoresheet, and Rivaldo Ferre playing a part in the final goal after entering the fray as a substitute.
But as good as Indonesia looked going forward, their defensively fragility would be ruthlessly exposed in their second match against a Qatar side still smarting from an opening day 2-1 to defeat to the United Arab Emirates.
In front just under 40,000 expectant fans at Jakarta’s famed Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, Qatar sizzled – seemingly creating a scoring chance every time they got the ball - while Indonesia were blown away.
The visitors scored four goals before half-time, had another one on the board just after the break, and moments after Rivaldo Ferre was introduced in his customary second-half cameo role, star striker Abuldrasheed Umaru netted again to complete a blistering hat-trick.
With just over half an hour remaining, Indonesia, so full of optimism three days prior, but guilty of several calamitous errors, were 6-1 down.
“I was very surprised, and very nervous, watching the Qatar game (from the bench),” recalled Rivaldo Ferre.
“They were very good. They kept scoring and, at that moment, we were so far behind.
“Before coming on in the second half, the coach asked me to show by best game. It was also self-motivation on my part to (try to) score goals when were left trailing 6-1.”
The home crowd dutifully cheered their young players on, but even they would be stunned by the events of the next 30 minutes, as Indonesia, bit by bit, launched an improbable comeback.
It began in the 65th minute, when Rivaldo Ferre sent a free-kick from the left-hand channel curling beyond Qatari goalkeeper Salah Zakaria and into the top corner of the net.
That goal got the comeback started, but the GBK roared into life when Indonesia scored another free-kick four minutes later, this time thanks to a sensational 25-yeard thump from Ramdani, who made it 6-3 and gave his side a sense of belief with 20 minutes to go.
Nine goals had been scored, but Rivaldo Ferre added one to top them all in the 73rd minute, slaloming through three Qatari defenders, cutting inside a fourth and slamming the ball into the top corner of Zakaria’s net in a moment of stunning individual quality.
Staring down the barrel of a thumping defeat minutes earlier, Indonesia, and their super-sub, were now untouchable, and Rivaldo Ferre’s third was another work of art.
Receiving the ball 40 yards from goal, the diminutive forward skipped past a would-be defender, snaked his way into the box and sent a low effort under Zakaria into the net.
While nine Qatari players conducted an inquest in the penalty area, just shy of 40,000 Indonesian fans burst into celebration.
“I thank God for blessing me with these abilities, and these good skills to be able to score goals,” said Rivaldo Ferre, who was now resembling more of a Garuda Garrincha.
“With those goals I was able to score a hat-trick in a tournament which was very important to us.”
Indonesia had scored four goals, all of them stunners, in the space of 16 minutes, but while they played their part in a superb second half battle Qatar had won the war, prevailing 6-5 in one of the greatest AFC U-19 Championship matches ever seen.
The comeback to end all comebacks fell a goal short, but Rivaldo Ferre’s individual performance earned him man of the match honours and marked a new career high-point for the 19-year-old.
“I was extremely proud and happy after the scoring the hat-trick,” he explained. “I scored three goals in a huge tournament, and in a very tense match.”
Indonesia bounced back to beat United Arab Emirates 1-0 in their final group match, before being knocked out by Japan in the quarter-finals, with Rivaldo Ferre making substitute appearances on both occasions.
Fast forward two years and the youngster is an increasingly prominent figure in senior football.
He is the reigning Young Player of the Year in Indonesia’s Liga 1, and his role in helping Persipura to third place in the 2019 campaign earned him a place in the league’s Team of the Season.
There may yet be many more wonderful nights in the career of Todd Rivaldo Ferre, but no matter what unfolds, he will always have the remarkable events of October 22, 2018, when the player with the famous name made a name all of his own.
Recommended Stories :
5 of the Best: Solo Goals
FIFA World Cup
Vote for your best Asian team at the FIFA World Cup: Goalkeeper
AFC Champions League
Vote for your best ACL2017 Team: Goalkeeper